Some of you may have noticed the spate of movie reviews on my blog, lately, and the more astute of you may have noticed that most of these (nearly all) have been for movies that are nominated for Best Picture at this year's Academy Awards. See, several years ago, my wife and I decided to actually try to see the movies that were nominated before the awards were given out. [She's not all that into the big, blockbuster-type summer movies (with some exceptions (Avengers)), so this our movie thing that we do together.] It didn't go so well that year, because we waited until after the nominations were announced, and many of the movies were no longer at the theater and not yet available on DVD. Since then, we've been working on our technique.
Last year, we managed to see six of the nine nominated films before the awards ceremony (we've seen all but one, at this point). Although I was glad that Argo won (for Affleck's sake), I think Lincoln was the better film. At least, Day-Lewis won for best actor, though, because anything other than that would have just been wrong.
This year, we are up to six of the nine nominated films (as I write this, because I think we'll be at seven before this actually gets posted). Of course, my belief is that the count should be seven of 10, because Saving Mr. Banks certainly should have been nominated. Some of what I've read suggests that it didn't get nominated due to Meryl Streep and that she was actively campaigning to keep that nomination from happening. And I get that a big part of the Academy Awards is political, but that kind of stuff just bothers me. And, no, I don't know Meryl Streep, so I can't say that that's true, but I did read about her anti-Disney speech, and I do know that that film should have been nominated.
But maybe it wasn't nominated so that it wouldn't win. I mean, if it was nominated, it would be difficult to justify picking a different movie over it, like, say, 12 Years a Slave, but, if it's not nominated at all, then it can't win. Which is messed up logic, too, but the Academy people do like to go with "important" movies and, maybe, it's still too close to The Artist's win in 2011 for them to go with another Hollywood-ish film even if this one is deserving (as opposed to The Artist, which wasn't).
At the moment, from the nominated movies, I'm going with 12 Years a Slave as the eventual winner. I don't think it's the best film, but I do think it's the most likely to win. Of the ones I've seen, I think Dallas Buyers Club is the most deserving of the Best Picture Oscar, but I don't think it will win. I do hope that Matthew McConaughey gets Best Actor, though; he was tremendous in a similar fashion as Day-Lewis in Lincoln.
Did I say there should be 10 nominations this year? Actually, I don't really think that. I think there should only be nine, because The Wolf of Wall Street doesn't deserve its nomination. It's this year's Beasts of the Southern Wild, the movie that people can't bring themselves to say that they don't get. Sometimes, when a movie doesn't make sense, it really just doesn't make sense. Don't pretend you get it by talking about how deep it is and how other people just don't understand, especially if, then, you're not going to bother explaining because, you know, if you didn't get it on your own, you just can't get it. Do people still believe that line? I suppose they must.
Anyway, I've already been through that class, so it doesn't work on me. Heck, I've been on the other end of that, so it really doesn't work on me. [Seriously, one of my English profs in college would give A's to any paper that was just outside of his understanding. Or, you know, if it was too confusing but you could make him think he just wasn't "getting" it. Rather than look like he didn't get it, he'd just give the paper the A.]
Captain Phillips is this year's Life of Pi for me. It's the movie I just can't manage to make myself want to see. We knew when it was out in theater that we should go see it. We talked about it a lot. It always came down to, "Well, do you want to see it?" "No, do you?" "No..." And, so, we never went to see it, and there's probably no way, now, to see it before Oscar night without buying it, and I really don't want to do that. Although, if we manage to get in the other two beforehand, we might break down. It has been mentioned.
And, yeah, I did, eventually, see Life of Pi, and, yeah, it would have been a cool movie to see in the theater just for the visual aspect of it, but, beyond that, I wasn't overly impressed (you can click the link and read the review if you want).
I guess the real question from all of this is, when all is said and done, "Do I feel, really, like I've watched the year's best movies?" Yes, actually, on the whole, I do, especially this year. There are movies I enjoy more just for the thrill of watching them, but I don't have any illusions of that making them better movies than they are. As with food, enjoyment does not equal quality or goodness (for you). Look, I loved Thor: The Dark World, and I would (and will) watch it again, but Dallas Buyers Club is a better movie. I'll probably never watch Dallas Buyers Club again; it's not the kind of thing you want to watch again (most people, anyway); but I'm really glad I saw it the one time, because it was a powerful and moving movie.
So, mostly, yeah, I think they do a pretty decent job of picking out the "best" movies. The movies with something to say. Except 2011. I don't know what was going on that year. At any rate, that we watch these movies allows me to step a little outside of the movies I would normally watch. It's like (exactly like) reading a book outside of your favorite genre, and it's always good to experience new things. Some of them will suck (Wolf), but some of them will be extraordinary and you'll be really glad you stepped outside of your box even if you're just going to get right back inside (because I totally plan to see Robocop). The thing is, if you do it enough, you'll find that your box isn't quite cube-shaped anymore, and that's a good thing.
Oh, and just to throw it out there, my wife is totally going for American Hustle. I think it's the hair.